Janis Joplin, Queen of Rock and Roll

For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have decided that I will be focusing on the great musician Janis Joplin!   Janis began to rise to fame in the 1960s when she joined the band Big Brother and the Holding Company.    Later on in her career, she would break out as a solo act, with just a backing band behind her.   In fact, her most famous album, Pearl, was released after her death!

Janis famously performed at two of the greatest music festivals in history.   Firstly, she was one of the performers at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.   Secondly, and most famously, she was also a performer at Woodstock in August of 1969!   These two performances were recorded for what would become iconic rock and roll films.    It also allowed film audiences to see how captivating Janis Joplin was, even if they never got to see her perform live!

Janis Joplin inspired many with her style of performing on stage.   She had a way of gaining the audience’s attention, keeping them utterly captivated during her whole performance!   Janis also was able to express an insane amount of emotion through her vocals, which is something she is always remembered for!

Now, I know I cannot get away with just writing about Janis as an artist and performer.   She was also a woman with many demons and addictions.   It is known that her lack of luck in her love life tended to weigh heavily on Janis, as she seemed to search for love regularly (having her hopes dashed when it did not work out).   She also had her issues with drugs and alcohol.   It is known that her drink of choice was Southern Comfort, many even saying she sometimes seemed to be drowning in a bottle of SoCo (emotionally as well as literally drinking heavily).   She would die tragically aged just 27 of a drug overdose on October 4, 1970, within weeks of Jimi Hendrix’s death!   The 27 Club received two members less than three weeks apart that year.   This death is all the sadder in that she was genuinely trying to get clean at the time.   It is said that she was trying to get sober, this maybe being like a “one last time” that turned into the last thing she would ever do!

Janis and her sad history make you just want to cry and hug her, letting her know that she is not alone.   In her death, she has continued to garner new fans, making her one of the most popular 60s rockers!   She will never be forgotten, so maybe that is the one silver lining of Janis and her painful life that infused her music with such depth of soul.   Janis was a woman ahead of her time, with a very open view of sexuality, and even being a woman who got tattoos in a time when it was still taboo!   She will always be remembered as someone who brought about lasting changes to rock music and inspired legions of future rock stars.   Stevie Nicks has often said she was inspired by Janis when she was building her own stage presence!

I hope you have enjoyed learning a bit about Janis Joplin.   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Janis.   I found the image on http://blog.act-sf.org/2017/07/janis-joplin-trendsetter.html.

Further Reading/Listening

  • Love, Janis by Laura Joplin
  • Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin by Alice Echols
  • Janis: Her Life and Music by Holly George-Warren
  • Pearl (1971)